Self-styled Homoeopathy | André Kertész: A Retrospective | World Press Photo 2011 |Crazy! Naked! – A Show by Istvan Kantor Monty Cantsin? Amen! | Unpolished – Contemporary Polish Design (as part of Design Week 2011) | COULEUR LOCALE – Europe’s Colours in Objects
Gábor Rieder: Self-styled Homoeopathy
A philosophy of history is conveyed by the lost objects recently found and grouped by József Szolnoki; conceptual somersaults from Hapsburg-era beer-mugs to a shrinking Magyarosaurus.
The title of the show had led us to believe that a contemporary artist was out to make fun of homoeopathy in spite of its sacred-cow quality resembling that of global warming or astrology. Not in the least! The title is a misnomer inasmuch as there are no drug corporations or alternative medicine to mock at, but we do get an entertaining vision of history through a lot of powerful symbols and distorting mirrors.
The main metaphor is that of Hungary as Ferryland. Hungarians are constantly traversing between West and East. Presently they are heading East, but there is a question mark added. The stakes are high, as ever.
On the first video we can see and hear Hungarian expats living in Germany, dressed in ancient Hun gear, talking about Attila’s Huns being ancestors of present-day Hungarians. Watching those expats, we are drawn to forget about the Hungarian-Austrian controversy so crucial in our history for many later centuries. Hapsburg oppression is symbolised by a long table with 162 empty antique beer-mugs. For 150 years after the crushing of the Hungarian rebellion against the Hapsburgs it was forbidden for good Hungarians to clink their beer glasses before emptying them (like with wine glasses) only because the victorious Austrians had been seen doing just that to celebrate the defeat of Hungary in 1849.
A central requisite of the show is the Hungarian coat-of-arms in its many variants. Szolnoki had discovered an enamelled plaque on an office building revealing the red-starred coat-of-arms of the Kádár era underneath the current variant with the Holy Crown. Other pieces on view reveal still earlier variants simultaneously with the current ones. Along with those requisites, Szolnoki offers a digital software with which any visitor can botch up his/her own personal Hungarian coat-of-arms.
There is also a soap collection, a video containing parliamentary silences, a collection of dictionaries, and also a documentation on a small fossil dinosaur that had been unearthed in Transylvania in the late 19th century, and was claimed to be by its finder the remains of a shrunken giant rather than a new-born specimen. To all intents and purposes, the finder was later proved right. Shrinkage among isolated, poorly fed populations of dinosaurs was the order of the day millions of years ago.
The conclusion is rather bitter. We, Hungarians are destined either to shrink within our stringent perimeters, or to board a ferry moving East. With a question mark hanging over it. Can one sink any deeper than that?
15 September – 13 November
André Kertész: A Retrospective
29 September – 31 December
Hungarian National Museum
Although one of the overarching figures of 20th century photography, Kertész hasn’t had a comprehensive exhibition in his native Hungary. The present show had started in the Jeu de Paume, and then moved to Winterthur and Berlin before hitting the Hungarian capital. The 250 pieces shown also reveal some of the lesser-known details of his career like his early press-photography and book-illustrations.
World Press Photo 2011
30 September – 30 October
Museum of Ethnography
5 691 press-photographers from 125 countries had submitted 108 059 photographs evaluated for 13 days by an international jury in Amsterdam. Finally, 55 photographers from 23 nations, including Hungarian Péter Lakatos, have been awarded and are displayed at the show.
Crazy! Naked! – A Show by Istvan Kantor Monty Cantsin? Amen!
1 October – 13 November
New Hungarian Gallery, Székesfehérvár
A Hungarian expatriate living in Toronto, Canada since 1976, Kantor offers an art in constant dynamic change from high-tech to “junk art”, from robotic works to blood-soaked graffiti, from techno pop-music to action-art and mail-art. Most of the pieces have been borrowed from the Kantor Archive in Székesfehérvár, and are complemented by recent videos made by the artist.
Unpolished – Contemporary Polish Design (as part of Design Week 2011)
30 September – 13 October
Arts and Crafts Museum
Most of the contributing 18 Polish designers are still in their thirties, and some of them not only manufacture, but also manage and market their own and their colleagues’ design. The exhibition has previously been on view in Copenhagen, Milan, Paris, and Cologne. Curators Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka and Paweł Grobelny have tried to select works with a special Polish accent.
COULEUR LOCALE – Europe’s Colours in Objects
30 September – 30 October
Picking from the output of the last three years, design experts from almost thirty countries have tried to represent each European country through three objects sent in by each. Visitors to the show can make up their minds whether the objects on view really reflect the special outlooks of the countries in question.